South Pacific Reflections by Diane

Tahiti, French Polynesia lies in the South Pacific and is part of the Society Islands.

Tahiti is the main island with mountainous interior surrounded by a barrier coral reef that protects the island from the pounding surf that smoothes over a black sand beach.  Though the Tahiti of Gauguin is long gone, one may still glimpse something of the way things were by getting out of Papeete, and visiting the outer districts to experience the peace and the generous hospitality of the Tahitians, the pure-classic Polynesian beauties.

Across the tranquil lagoon where the pace is slower than Tahiti, is a sister island, Moorea with dramatically sharp, beautiful serrated peaks.  The white-sand beaches look out on a stunning translucent multi-blue lagoons.  The French Polynesia that I know best began in the 1960’s.  Where the day started early at the market place and ended as Tahitians would fish for an evening meal or gather fruits and vegetables from the land.  Up until then it had been more of a colonial period marked with a gradual change in the Tahitian culture.  As before, today, at every turn the eye captures a perfect image of lush tropical scenes.  The coconut palm is most associated with the islands and is prominent on the landscape, growing wild from the shoreline to all but the very highest volcanic mountains.  There’s no lack of warm water and gentle breezes along with a back drop of a steady waterfall streaming down into an interior valley.  If you wish to blend into the culture always wear a fresh flower on your ear.  Clusters of vines and random blossoms abound everywhere – truly a paradise!

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